FIFA’s Ethics Committee banned former South African soccer official Lindile Kika from the sport for six years on Wednesday after an investigation into allegations of match-fixing during the 2010 World Cup. Kika is one of several executives to face punishment as international soccer’s governing body attempts to reassure its sponsors of its commitment to end widespread corruption at its highest levels.
“The proceedings against Lindile Kika were opened in November 2014 in relation to several international friendly matches played in South Africa in 2010. The investigation was led by the chairman of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, Dr. Cornel Borbely, in collaboration with the FIFA Security Division,” the Ethics Committee said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Kika violated several elements of FIFA’s ethics code, including its general rules of conduct and standards on disclosure, conflicts of interest and loyalty, ESPN reported. FIFA has yet to reveal what specific actions led to Kika’s six-year ban. The South African Football Association (SAFA) praised FIFA’s decision to discipline him, the BBC reported.
Kika, who once served as a top SAFA official, was first placed under investigation in late 2012 after evidence surfaced that a Singapore betting syndicate fixed the outcomes of exhibition matches in the months leading up to the 2010 World Cup, which took place in South Africa. Kika denied any wrongdoing during the investigation.
FIFA has endeavored to eliminate corruption among its executives since May, when the U.S. Justice Department indicted nine current and former international soccer officials on bribery charges. The wave of arrests prompted longtime FIFA President Sepp Blatter to announce his resignation effective February, when the election of his replacement is scheduled to be held.
But the Ethics Committee banned Blatter last week from international soccer for 90 days after Swiss authorities opened a criminal probe into his activity on suspicion of his criminal mismanagement of FIFA’s affairs. Longtime Blatter associate Michel Platini, president of the Union of European Football Associations and a likely FIFA presidential candidate, also was suspended for 90 days.
In light of Blatter’s resignation and corporate sponsor demands for action on corruption reform, FIFA’s executive committee announced plans to hold an emergency meeting Oct. 20 to discuss the state of its efforts and whether to postpone February’s election. Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, a Jordanian soccer official and FIFA presidential candidate, called on FIFA to hold the election as scheduled.
"Delaying the scheduled election would only postpone needed change and create further instability," Prince Ali said in a statement, according to Reuters.